Lord Berkeley calls for HS2 downgrade to save money
Former Rail Freight Group Chairman Lord Berkeley has called on Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling to downgrade the scope of HS2, in a bid to cut costs.
Berkeley says that to fit within the £32 billion budget for Phases 1 and 2a, maximum speed should be reduced to 320kph (200mph), which would save £20bn and bring the cost down to £40bn. Savings could be made on infrastructure such as alignment, track design and tunnel diameters.
He argues that the section from Old Oak Common to Euston could be omitted if Phase 2b is cancelled, and upgrades made on the likes of the Midland and East Coast Main Lines, which would save an estimated £8bn.
Additionally, the junction from the north end of Phase 1 at Hansacre could be axed, given that Phases 1 and 2a are due to open at the same time, saving £2bn. Plus, if regional plans to quadruple the CoventryBirmingham part of the West Coast Main Line are adopted, he says the complete Birmingham International-Birmingham leg could also be dropped.
Berkeley says the Government can choose to provide extra funding if needed, reduce its scope, or cancel HS2 and redirect funds into upgrading the existing rail network.